While mosquitoes, and by extension mosquito bites, seem like a natural part of summer, there are a few things that you can do to keep these pests out of your yard—or at least keep their bites from itching.
How to Get Mosquito Bites to Stop Itching
When mosquitoes bite, they inject a small anti-coagulant into your blood which prevents it from clotting and allows them to drink it more easily. It is this anti-clotting agent to which we humans react and that causes the small red bump. While some reactions cause the bite to itch more, some less, the best methods of preventing the bites from itching are the same.
To get mosquito bites to stop itching, you should:
- Washing the Area—Simply washing the bites with soap and water can help to reduce swelling and the severity of the itch.
- Applying Ice—An ice pack or crushed ice will help to both numb the area and reduce swelling and itching.
- Baking Soda and Water—A mix of baking soda and water into a thin paste should be applied to the bites, and then washed off after 10 minutes.
- Aloe Vera—A common soothing gel also helps soothe the itchiness that the bites can bring.
- Honey—A more abstract solution, but a drop or two of honey can help to reduce the urge to itch, as well as prevent scratching due to the stickiness. Be careful going outside with honey, however, as you will become a magnet to other insects.
What Attracts Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are one of nature's most well-designed and effective hunters. They can sense carbon dioxide emissions (regular breathing) from up to 30 feet away, and as they come closer will begin to sense your body heat to bring them to their target. Human sweat and body odor are also a big signal to mosquitoes that a warm body is nearby, and will serve to attract many more of them.
Not only is it your body that they can sense, but they can also see the colors of the clothes that you wear. Mosquitoes have been shown to be attracted to dark, bold colors like reds and blues, and blacks. These colors are easy to spot in their limited vision, and make you stand out.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to certain blood types more than others. Type O blood, for example, has been shown to be the most attractive blood type, so if that is you, then you should take extra care being outside during mosquito season.
How to Keep Away Mosquitoes
By far the easiest way to stop mosquito bites from itching is to prevent being bitten in the first place. This is much easier said than done, but here are a few different tips to help prevent you from becoming the next snack:
- Prevent any Standing Water—Mosquitoes breed in standing, stagnant bodies of water. So if you have anything like birdbaths, watering cans, fountains, or even pet bowls, make sure that the water is either covered or changed frequently to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
- Wear Loose, Baggy Clothing—Long-sleeved shirts or pants are great for keeping away mosquitoes. Their proboscis is strong enough to pierce tight clothes, so loose clothing helps keep them away from your skin.
- Keep Lights Off—Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, and, like other insects, are extremely attracted to light sources. If you are outside, try to keep artificial light sources to a minimum to help avoid being bitten.
- Mosquito Repellant—There are numerous store-bought insect repellants that are effective in preventing mosquito bites. If you are looking at repellants, be sure to look for the active ingredient DEET, the most effective repellents will contain a large percentage of DEET.
Mosquito Repellent Plants
Another very effective, and natural, method of mosquito repellant is through the purchase and care of mosquito repelling plants. Several strong scented plants are available which can help to mask the smell of humans, and are even disliked by mosquitoes which can help to keep them away. Some of those plants include:
- Lemon balm
Homemade Mosquito Repellent
If you are looking for an effective, homemade mosquito repellent—you should mix ½ cup of water and ½ cup of a base with 3-4 drops of essential oils.
You’ll want to use essential oil from plants mentioned above, such as lavender, mint, citronella, etc.
Once you have chosen your oils with a scent that you hopefully enjoy, you will then want to choose a repellant base that will act as an emulsifier to help combine the oils in water. Some popular bases include:
- Witch Hazel
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Lemon Juice
- White Vinegar
- Coconut Oil
Give it all a good shake and either apply the mixture directly on your skin (though people with more sensitive skin may have to be selective of their base) or use a spray bottle to disperse the mixture around the perimeter of your yard, porch, or pool, as well as along the railing of your porch and chair and table legs.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
If you are facing a mosquito infestation, let our talented team at Winkler Tree & Lawn Care help! We offer comprehensive mosquito treatments, as well as lawn care, tree care, and general plant health care. Contact us today to learn how we can help give you an outdoor space the entire family can enjoy